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Steven Allan Clark

Died: August 28, 2020

Steven A. Clark took the path less travelled, living a rich life of service to others. He died on August 28, 2020 from glioblastoma brain cancer.

Steve was born on September 22, 1944, and grew up in Bay Shore, NY. At Yale he was a member of Silliman College and majored in Art History. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1969.

Following law school, he did not pursue government service, a major law firm, or clerkship. Rather, he and his wife, Joan (Vassar, 1966), became VISTA volunteers serving the coal regions of Eastern Kentucky, Appalachia. At the onset of his assignment, however, the Governor of Kentucky declared that he wanted no legal assistance provided from the federal government. Undaunted, Steve secured foundation funding and began legal practice with Mountain People’s Rights, helping coal miners secure black lung benefits, and other related mine worker issues.

His commitment to serving to the best of his ability, and challenged to master a new area of law, led him (as the only non-medical professional) to enroll in a medical course to read x-rays for black lung. He became proficient enough to interpret the scans and to present them effectively in trial work.

During this time, he partnered with another volunteer lawyer, Joe Flynn. While his wife attended a college reunion, and because Steve and Joan saw the need to leave Appalachia to raise a growing family, Steve and Joe hatched a plan to move to Lexington, MA in 1976 and set up a practice. Typically, it was not a routine practice but focused on the needs of immigrant clients.

Steve was immediately drawn to immigration law because he could continue to enjoy the satisfaction of helping people realize their dreams while at the same time mastering a complex and challenging area of law. His clients ranged from very skilled and talented foreign professionals seeking opportunities in the high-tech sector surrounding Boston to those needing legal representation in cases of asylum and immigration from Central America.

Over his 30 years of immigration practice, he was noteworthy for his active mentoring of young lawyers and participating in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He served as national president in 1999. In tribute, AILA New England’s Executive Board stated: “Steve’s contributions to the field of immigration law will not be forgotten. He will be remembered as someone who was an expert in his field, while also generously sharing his time and expertise with other attorneys. AILA New England was lucky to have him at the helm and lucky to call him one of our own. He will be missed.”

In addition to his passion for the law, Steve loved his family and friends. He is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren. They shared many good times with Steve at the family vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. He kept busy there with his hobbies: gardening, reading, and walking the paths of Lexington and Martha’s Vineyard.

James S. Roberts